Nerium oleander

Nerium oleander L. (Apocynaceae)


Flowers of Nerium oleander Nerium oleander shrub

Nerium oleander L. is a small shrub up to 2 m high. Leaves are very narrowly elliptic, 5-21 by 1-3.5 cm, dark green, without stipules, leathery and arranged in whorls of three. Flowers are showy and fragrant. Sepals are narrowly triangular to narrowly ovate, 3-10 mm. Corolla is purplish red, pink, white, salmon, or yellow. Fruits consist of cylindrical follicles, 12-23 cm. Seeds are oblong, coma, about 0.9-1.2 cm.


Native to southern Europe, and widely cultivated and naturalised in Asia, Europe and North America.


Oleandroside, kaneroside, neriaside, nerigoside, neriu-moside, neridiginoside, nerizoside, neritaloside, proceragenin, neridienone A, cardenolides N-l to N-4 and others.

Traditional Medicinal Uses

The plant is used in Ayurveda to treat scabies, eye disease and haemorrhoids. It is used to treat parasitic infection in Calabria (Southern Italy). Leaf decoction is used to treat diabetes in southeastern Morocco. Bark, leaf, flower are used medicinally as a cardiotonic and diuretic.

Pharmacological Activities

Analgesic, Anti-inflammatory, Antibacterial, Anticancer/Antineoplastic, Antifungal, Depressant, Antimitotic, Insecticidal, Larvicidal, Muscle stimulatory, and inhibits Nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-/cB) activation.


No information as yet.

Adverse Reactions

Depression, dizziness, stupor, headache, nausea, vomiting, anorexia, abdominal cramps, spontaneous abortion, hypersensitivity, contact dermatitis, hyperkalemia and tachypnea.


Toxic to humans and animals. The plant contains numerous toxic compounds, many of which can be deadly to people. Ingestion can cause both gastrointestinal and cardiac effects and also affect the central nervous system.


Should not be used during pregnancy and lactation, in children and in persons with hypersensitivity to oleander. Should not be taken internally.

Drug-Herb Interactions

Fatal digitalis toxicity can occur with concurrent usage of cardiac glycosides such as digoxin and digitoxin. Concurrent use of quinidine, calcium salts, saluretics, laxatives or glucocorticids increases efficacy as well as side effects.